Letter Visibility Chart

The information presented in this chart is based on lettering using the font Helvetica as black text on a white background in a composition using optimal negative space seen in natural lighting. This condition represents a sign with maximum legibility. Factors that would decrease the legibility of the sign are: font selection, color choice, lighting, negative space, and other environmental factors.

 

Upper &
Lower case

ALL
CAPITALS

letter
height

maximum
legible
distance

letter
height

maximum
legible
distance

0.5' 14'
0.75' 22'
1' 29'
1.25' 36'
1.5' 43'
1.75' 51'
2' 58'
2.5' 72'
3' 87'
3.5' 101'
4' 116'
4.5' 130'
5' 145'
6' 174'
8' 232'
10' 290'
12' 348'
16' 464'
18' 522'
20' 580'
24' 696'
30' 870'
36' 1044'
48' 1392'
0.5' 12'
0.75' 19'
1' 25'
1.25' 31'
1.5' 37'
1.75' 43'
2' 50'
2.5' 62'
3' 75'
3.5' 87'
4' 100'
4.5' 112'
5' 125'
6' 150'
8' 200'
10' 250'
12' 300'
16' 400'
18' 450'
20' 500'
24' 600'
30' 750'
36' 900'
48' 1200'


The information presented in this chart represents data interpreted from the Pennsylvania Transportation Institute, Penn State University and the United States Sign Council (USSC) ©1998.
Please refer to the original study, Sign Legibility.
The impact of Color and Illumination on Typical On-Premise
Sign Fonts.
For further details please contact the USSC at (215) 785-1922.

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